Rado Lecture: Purloined Privacy and the Right to Deceive

June 3, 2014
Lecturer: Bonnie Litowitz, PhD

We are aware of the loss of privacy in our collective lives; and the increasing loss of privacy is also a concern for our profession. My talk, however, addresses the intrapsychic effects of loss and privacy, examining the need for privacy in creating and maintaining one individual’s subjectivity in his particular intersubjective world. I discuss the role of deception for the establishment of subjectivity, including the effects of environmental responses on its development.

Liebert Lecture: Rear Window and Sexual Voyeurism

May 6, 2014
Lecturer: Peter Dunn, MD

Using clips from the film, Dr. Dunn approaches Rear Window as if it were the psychological autobiography of a sexual voyeur. Seen that way, the 1954 film conveys the fundamental problem in voyeurism: the person feels dead when engaging in life as a participant. The voyeurism is an adaptation to this problem because the person is capable of deep emotions when identified with their observing self. Case material involving internet pornography addiction illustrates the applicability of Hitchcock’s portrait of a voyeur to clinical practice.

Defending Psychoanalytic Secularism

April 1, 2014
Lecturer: Joel Whitebook, PhD
Discussant: Richard Bernstein, PhD

Dr. Whitebook argues that the global resurgence of religion during the second half of the twentieth century, along with theoretical attacks on the Enlightenment from the contemporary intellectual establishment, has led to a new era of anti-secularist sentiment. This trend has affected the discipline of psychoanalysis. Dr. Whitebook challenges the new anti-secularist Zeitgeist and argues that the new embrace of religion, often in the form of “spirituality,” has been a precipitous mistake. He presents a new interpretation of Freud’s theories of science and religion in an attempt to begin a radical defense of psychoanalytic secularism.

Narcissus and Echo – Narcissistic Dyads in the Works of Ovid, Poussin and their Links to Psychoanalytic Theory

March 4, 2014
Lecturer: Adele Tutter, MD
Discussant: Christine Anzieu MD

Nicholas Poussin’s four paintings on the theme of Narcissus and Echo, completed over the course of three decades, reflect a deepening appreciation of their source in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Poussin’s evolving interpretation of the myth of Narcissus parallels critical junctures in the development of psychoanalytic theories of narcissism, and supports a radical reappraisal of the enigmatic myth at the heart of psychoanalytic theory and practice. Dr. Tutter, using slides of the images, links the works of Poussin and Ovid to the writings of Freud, Kohut, Winnicot and others.

History and Theory: the Case of Psychoanalysis Coming to Palestine/Pre-State Israel

February 4, 2014
Co-sponsored with the Columbia University Center for Israel & Jewish Studies
Lecturer: Eran Rolnik, MD, PhD
Discussant: Anne Hoffman PhD

Dr. Rolnik, a psychoanalyst and historian at Tel Aviv University and the Max Eitingon Institute for Psychoanalysis and author of Freud in Zion: Psychoanalysis and the Making of the Modern Jewish Identity, tells the story of psychoanalysis coming to Jewish Palestine/Israel. He explores the encounter between psychoanalysis, Judaism, modern Hebrew culture and the Zionist revolution in a unique political and cultural context of war, immigration, ethnic tensions, colonial rule and nation-making. Based on previously unpublished documents, including unpublished letters by Freud, his story integrates intellectual and social history to provide a moving account of how psychoanalysis permeated popular and intellectual discourse in the emerging Jewish state.

Maternal Altruism and Boundary Violations

January 7, 2014
Lecturer: Beth Seelig, MD
Discussant: Robert Michels MD

Altruism, defined by Seelig & Rosof (2001) as, “a range of both normal and pathological behaviors that are consciously intended to, and actually may, benefit another,” is characteristic of most, if not all, analysts and therapists. The problematic initial request for consultation and reanalysis of a highly caring and altruistic therapist (Mrs A) who is involved in an ongoing boundary violation with a borderline patient is presented. The complex clinical, professional, ethical and potentially legal ramifications of Mrs A’s boundary violation, its meaning as an enactment of the transference/countertransference between her and her patient, the transference/countertransference between Mrs A and the author, and Mrs A’s traumatic early life history and prior analysis are discussed.

Converting Patients to Psychoanalysis: a Panel on Technique

December 3, 2013
Panelists: Arnold Rothstein, MD, Deborah Cabaniss, MD, Andreas Kraebber, MD, Ruth Graver, MD

Analysts who recommend analysis to their patients believe in the unique power of this treatment to heal and transform. Yet gone are the days when patients arrive familiar with this work. Many have never heard of psychoanalysis, or have the impression that it is outmoded and unscientific, having been replaced by newer, short-term therapies. How do we describe analysis to patients in the twenty-first century? What are the relative roles of psychoeducation, preparatory psychotherapy, and interpretation of resistances to analysis? How do we work with these resistances? Have our ideas or technique changed, or do they need to change, with our changing culture? At this lively and interactive panel, four colleagues with active analytic practices share their ideas, opinions, and experiences.

Transferences in Parent-Infant Psychotherapy

November 5, 2013
Lecturer: Bjorn Salomonsson, MD
Discussant: Theodore Shapiro, MD

From Freud and onwards, psychoanalytic theory is based, to a substantial extent, on speculations about the infant mind. Nevertheless, these imaginations have not left much imprint on clinical practice. Until recently, only a limited number of analysts were treating babies and parents. Today, the scene is changing and many therapists take a vivid interest in infant research and therapy. Another paradoxical phenomenon then emerges; parent-infant therapists, though rooted and trained in the psychoanalytic tradition, describe therapeutic processes with concepts from other disciplines such as neuroscience, infant research, and attachment theory. The risk is that they are throwing out the baby with the bathwater. As I see it, psychoanalytic concepts are important tools for describing therapeutic processes with non-verbal patients. I will investigate if the concept of transference is applicable not only to the parents in these therapies but also to their babies. (Dr. Salomonssom is a Professor at the Karolinska Institute, training analyst at the Swedish Analytic Society, and an IPA member.)

On Time and the Deepening of Analysis

October 1, 2013
Lecturer: Lucy LaFarge, MD
Discussant: George Sagi, MD

The metaphor of depth has most often been used in analytic thinking to denote extension in space or time. Depth, and its companion term, deepening, may also be used to describe quality rather than distance; something is deep when it is serious or important. The deepening of analysis is linked to temporality but not in a linear way. Analysis deepens as it sets in motion a series of changes in the experience of time: The past comes alive and is worked through. Past and present come into a new relation with one another. The analytic frame and the rhythm of the exchange between patient and analyst also bring to life past experiences and fantasies to do with time. Both patient and analyst must enter a fluid time-state in order for deepening to occur. Clinical examples illustrate these dimensions of temporal experience and the way they emerge in the deepening analytic process.